Why Four Year Olds Have Parents

What is liberty without wisdom, and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint.   Edmund Burke

My parents may have never heard of Mr, Burke's quote when I was four, but they understood the meaning of the quote every bit as much as Sir Edmund. You see Mom and Dad had a four year old that loved liberty, but who had yet to get the hang of wisdom and virtue.

We were on our way home from the worship and I was ready for my freedom. It's not that I didn't like worship and Sunday school, it's just that the clothes they put me in were quite restrictive.

Church clothes were invented by mothers who wanted their four year old heathens to look like saints. I suspect that the advertising executive who came up with the phrase, "Let's put some lipstick on the pig", had a four year old boy.

Anyway, we were on our way home from the worship and I was dying to get into my play clothes - when it hit me! I could get out of my dress clothes much faster if I got a bit of a jump on the way home. Soon, everything that could be untied, unbuckled, unbuttoned or unzipped... was. The problem was that when I got out of the car and started clunking up the walk in my untied shoes while clinging all of my loose garments to myself, my parents noticed. And, meddlesome people that they were when I was four, decided that it was time to impart another of their seemingly endless lessons on wisdom and virtue.

I didn't understand discipline when I was four, but I think I do now. I have witnessed many people through the years who seemed to have fun for a while but who, in the end, suffered greatly from their lack of restraint. It makes me grateful for parents who understood the importance of restraint, and it makes me eternally grateful to my Father in Heaven for doing the same.

You see, God's laws give freedom. However, many people look upon His instruction the same way I looked upon restraint when I was young - as something that limits freedom. It's not until we learn to appreciate our freedom in Christ, that we will ever appreciate the wisdom of restraint.

Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul. Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law.

Proverbs 29:17-18, NIV